Criminal Defense Clinic: Case Dismissal and Grant of Early Termination Motion

Criminal Defense Clinic: Case Dismissal and Grant of Early Termination Motion
Merlin MacGillivray, ’24 and Andreas Jackson, ’24

Andreas Jackson and Merlin MacGillivray represented a 41-yearold man who had been cited for possession of cocaine following a supposed welfare check. Although the officer approached under the pretext that he thought our client was in distress, upon seeing that our client was perfectly okay, the officer proceeded to investigate potential crimes without reasonable suspicion. The officer asked for our client’s identification, checked his criminal record, removed him from the car, and interrogated him about whether he had “anything illegal” on him. Ultimately, the officer searched our client, which we felt was unjustified. Unfortunately, our client’s prolonged detention was not captured on bodycam, and we were forced to rely on dispatch audio and the CAD log to map out what took place for the 51-minute violation of his rights. We filed a suppression motion, listing all the officer’s actions preceding the citation as impermissible detours from the welfare mission. The delayed court proceedings prior to our representation served as a compounding injustice. The police encounter occurred in November 2020, but instead of allowing our client to appear in a timely manner, the court postponed his arraignment until November 2021. Due to a series of failures, our client was not arraigned until September 2022. In addition to the suppression motion, we filed a Serna motion arguing that our client’s Sixth Amendment rights were violated by the unwarranted delay. Upon reviewing our motions, the DA elected to dismiss all charges. Our client is now free to focus on running his event-planning business and supporting his four children.

Working with AFPD Candis Mitchell, we represented a caring father in his motion for early termination of supervised release, Our client also lives with his 99-year-old grandmother. He feeds her, makes sure she takes her medicine, keeps their home clean, and entertains her. We had the pleasure of meeting with our client’s grandmother and helping her to draft her letter of support. He also works to bring meals to the elderly in his neighborhood. We worked closely with our client to collect support letters from the people in his life. His coworkers wrote about his dependability and how charming he is with the people he helps. In our brief, we used what we learned about our client and from the people who know him. We showed how he had grown since his prison sentence. He is now a community leader, who seeks to divert young people from the violent path that he himself experienced. He is a conscientious father, who works to help his children succeed in work and school. Upon reading our brief, Judge Breyer deemed it so persuasive that there was no reason to delay his decision for any further briefing. He granted our motion right away!